Three Firsthand Accounts of being a Hive Scholar!

The Library’s Research Hive is a space dedicated for use by the research community at Sussex, open exclusively to doctoral researchers and academic staff. The Library, in partnership with the Doctoral School and SAGE Publications, is offering three SAGE Research Hive Scholarships to support the Research Hive and the needs of the research community at Sussex.

As a Hive Scholar, you will be responsible for holding social and academic events to support the wellbeing and development of Doctoral Researchers at Sussex. Hive Scholars help forge connections across disciplines and foster peer support and a sense of community in the cohort of PGRS at Sussex. You will have the benefit of working closely with two other PhD students to creatively deliver events tailored to the community and will be able to work with SAGE publications to provide a PGR voice to their platforms.

For all the nitty gritty details: the job description, person spec and how to apply, you can visit the Library’s pages. We hear from our current Hive Scholars, who share their experiences supporting the PGR community over the past few years. They have been through some significant changes in terms of the modes of delivery due to the pandemic, which has given them some insight into the future of the Hive space, including the potential for a hybrid package of events. Here, they highlight the main benefits they have experienced from being a Hive Scholar.

Working in the Hive!

Aanchal Vij, School of Media, Arts, Humanities

I feel very lucky to have been a Hive Scholar along with the wonderful Devyn and Louise since September 2019. This has been one of the most fulfilling and wholesome jobs that I’ve taken on along with my PhD. Apart from making me adept at organisation and communication skills, this role came with a range of exciting opportunities such as organising university-wide and public engagement events as well as working closely with SAGE Publications. A combination of the excellent learning curve on the job and the opportunities it presents makes it more than just a helpful addition to my CV.

This has been a great way to root myself in the doctoral community and help other researchers feel equally part of a community. Since our time as Scholars was interrupted by the pandemic, it became even more important to ensure a sense of community at Sussex due to increased isolation and other obstacles for researchers. This role not only allowed me to support researchers across Sussex along with a fantastic team at the Doctoral School and the Library but also feel supported by the community myself.

I’ve made some lovely memories in the past two years and cannot wait to see what the new Scholars have planned for researchers. I’d like to believe some of our events that came out of the pandemic (such as Breakfast Serial Writing, Tea and Talk, Hive Happy Hour) can continue in ways that help researchers feel connected, supported, and included.

Devyn Glass, School of Psychology

Applying to be a Hive Scholar was probably one of the best decisions I made during my PhD. Not only have I developed a host of transferable skills and gained experience that has built my employability, it has benefitted my research and my personal PhD journey. Taking on extra responsibilities helped me build structure into my work and I became much more engaged with my PhD as a result. In the times I was struggling with motivation, I had Hive work to fall back on, which kept me in the zone and prevented feelings of guilt setting in. This made it much easier to reengage with my PhD and I worked much more efficiently with the time I had for my PhD.

Working with some great colleagues in the Library and the Doctoral School has been fantastic and has really helped me feel a part of the University. The sense of belonging, alongside the confidence I developed from public speaking, delivering events, and working with SAGE and the wider academic community, really helped to forgo imposter syndrome!

I have learnt a lot from my fellow Hive Scholars and we have had a lot of fun creating events for you over the past few years (my favourite was the collage). Being able to be there for other Doctoral Researchers during the pandemic was also a privilege. It gave me a sense of purpose and definitely benefitted my own wellbeing!

Louise Elali, School of Media, Arts, Humanities

Before becoming a Hive Scholar, I was involved in my little corner of the School of Media, but I had very little connections outside of it, and as someone who enjoys interdisciplinarity, I was not happy. Becoming a Hive Scholar changed that, without my thinking about it – it was just a part of doing the job. Working for the Hive is all about building connections: within your PhD community, the University, and even beyond it through SAGE.

Working for the Hive is fun and fulfilling. You get to be creative on the job, and, I have to admit, as the projects are usually short and have a set finish date, it’s refreshing to actually see something done and be able to move on to something else – which we don’t get a lot of during our PhDs! The ability to finish projects regularly helped a lot with maintaining motivation for my own PhD project as well – it made me want to move forward as well.

Through the Hive, I built strong connections with students from other schools, as well as colleagues from the Library and the Doctoral School, which have shaped my experience at Sussex and I will cherish for years to come. I gained a much more complex understanding of Sussex, and I felt a sense of belonging. Being a Hive Scholar is definitely one of the highlights of my time at Sussex.

Hopefully these accounts give you some personal insight into the role of Hive Scholar and the benefits the position can bring, but don’t all rush at once to apply! You have until 20th June to submit your application. Do get in touch with Aanchal, Devyn or Louise if you have any questions about the role, they will be happy to help.

— The Hive Scholars


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